- Houlihan Lokey
On of the biggest challenges for Scott Beiser, the CEO of $2.4 billion boutique global investment bank Houlihan Lokey, is making sure the company’s employees stay engaged and energized.
The firm – which specializes in corporate finance business, restructuring, and financial advisory services – has grown significantly since it went public two years ago, boosting revenue from $681 million in fiscal 2015 to $872 in fiscal 2017.
That growth means Beiser, who has been at the firm 33 years, has more employees to retain and keep engaged, but also more opportunities for recruiting young Wall Street talent.
So what does Beiser want from fresh college graduates?
Business Insider recently sat down with Beiser, who highlighted three key elements that he looks for when hiring young investment bankers.
Responses have been edited and condensed for length and clarity.
1. You have to love finance — it has to be in your blood.
Talent and ambition can take you far, even if you’re not in the perfect job. But if you don’t truly live and breathe investment banking, there may be a ceiling on how far you can go.
“One, they have to actually want to at some level enjoy or love finance. It is what we do,” Beiser said. “Whether it’s you need to read the FT or the Journal or you need to want to care what’s going on in the news, that just has to be part of your DNA and blood.”
2. Data and computer wizardry are great. But can you articulate?
- Jaap Buitendijk/Paramount
Being a whiz with Microsoft Excel can’t hurt. But you won’t last long in the world of investment banking if you don’t know how to talk to people.
“Two, you need to have some level of presence. There are a lot of people we can hire that have much higher IQs than myself and other people and just brilliant people coming out of schools, and they’re great behind the computers and they can do spreadsheets and analyst things all day long. But at the end of the day what we and our peers do is we take a lot of information and analysis and we need to be able to articulate it and communicate it to the other side. And whether that’s the client, whether that’s the seller versus the buyer, the lender versus the borrower, it’s a judge … or some other constituency. So you have to be successful in articulating what is important and how to convey that whether it’s your side or the other side. And that’s not necessarily a talent I believe they teach you in the schools anymore. So some people just have it, are born with it, or maybe they developed it through some other work experience.”
3. How well do you work with people and answer to multiple bosses?
- Paramount Pictures
Investment banking is a service business, and you’ll have to coexist productively – if not happily – with many different people, both on your own team and on the client side.
“And then I’d also say they need to be good to be able to work with other people. In the service industry … you have multiple bosses. You typically working for multiple clients at any given time. You have multiple managing directors, you may be working for multiple VPs. So you have to have a talent to be able to juggle your schedule and work well with multiple people. And you may not get along with every single one of your fellow employees and every single one of your clients, but you need to be able to get along and in sync with the vast majority of them. And some people I don’t think are geared to be in the service industry, because they’re much better to work for one client, one boss, one task at a time.”